Photo by Karen Elliott Greisdorf
Meet the Candidates is a new series on Red Brick Town that will feature a profile of candidates running for office this year (2015) in Alexandria, Virginia including candidates for Mayor. We have sent these questions, mostly asked by our readers, out to all of the Mayoral candidates. Here are Vice Mayor Allison Silberberg’s responses.
Where do you live in Alexandria?
I have lived in Alexandria since 1989, and I have lived in Parkfairfax since 1992.
What were your first impressions of Parkfairfax when you moved in?
I fell in love with Parkfairfax the minute I saw it. The architecture of the community, the remarkable open space, the landscaping and gardens, and the warm people make it all a special place for me. I thoroughly enjoy tending to my small flower garden, and I am very close to my neighbors. We have a wonderful sense of community. I am blessed to live here.
Tell me something about yourself that people may not know, like a hobby or something you like to do.
Before I moved to Alexandria in 1989, I grew up in Dallas, Texas. I love football, and when I was five or six years old, some close friends of my parents hosted a Christmas Day luncheon at their home, and they seated me next to Calvin Hill, the Dallas Cowboy star player, because they knew I was in awe of him. I remember to this day how I was speechless and tried not to stare at him. He said that he heard that I like football, and I nodded and smiled up at him. He was unbelievably kind, and he said he heard that I had brought a football with me that day, and he suggested we could have a throw. I looked up at him, beaming. With my father and our close friends watching from the front porch of their home, Mr. Hill and I threw my football for a bit on the wide front lawn, and then he called me over, as if we were going to be in a huddle. And he taught me how the pros throw a football. Soon, I had a spiral like his. Later, he signed the ball for me. To this day, I have a good throwing arm. And to this day, I have the football.
Name your three favorite things about Alexandria…
- All the historic sites and historic preservation work.
- The special events that make our city and its neighborhoods so vibrant and show the diversity of our community: the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Scottish Walk, the Del Ray Halloween Parade, and Del Ray’s Arts on the Avenue.
- Walking along the waterfront.
Name three things you wish Alexandria had (but which it currently does not)…
- More affordable/workforce housing.
- More pedestrian safety infrastructure, particularly on the West End.
- A small bandstand shell in Oronoco Bay Park for the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra.
What are the 2 most important unsolved challenges facing Alexandria that you as Mayor you will focus on in your first 2 years in office?
- We need to have a serious discussion about how we will reduce our debt. We must make tough choices and allocate resources to capital needs that are mission critical.
- At the same time, we must address needed improvements in our basic infrastructure, particularly upgrading our combined sewer overflow system as well as our stormwater and other infrastructure challenges, including our school capacity issues, all of which have been delayed for too long.
Alexandria’s tax base goal is a 50-50 split between residents and businesses yet the tax base split currently stands uneven at something like 70-30 residents to business. How can Alexandria attract more business to reach that goal?
We must grow the commercial tax base and do so in a balanced way. We must pursue smart growth around our metro stops and proactively recruit entities and entrepreneurs to locate in Alexandria, as we did with the National Science Foundation. Innovation, medical research, technology, and science are keys to our city’s future. And finally, businesses are suffering with the new parking meter hours in Carlyle and Old Town. Extending the meter hours to 9 pm was very anti-business, and I stated that when I was the lone dissenting vote against this expansion. We must roll back the parking meter hours to 7 pm.
For more information about Ms. Silberberg’s campaign, visit this link.